2022 Fall Simbrah News

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Brought to you by American Simbrah Breeders

Cattle that work, work for Filegonia Cattle Company By Deanna Nelson-Licking

Filegonia annually markets about 30 SimGenetic bulls, including several Simbrahs. Between Temple and Waco, Texas, Joe and Beth Mercer of Filegonia Cattle Company raise Simbrah cattle and have been doing so since 1991. “In addition to purebred Simbrah, we breed composite animals, crossing Simbrah with Brangus or red or black SimAngus™ which makes what the American Simmental Association (ASA) has trademarked as SimAngusHT™,” said Beth, who is the driving force behind their cattle program. “We have two calving seasons and run about 100 to 120 cows plus replacement females. We are limited by the number of acres we have and what I can handle. A longtime friend and cowboy, Robert Deleon Assists us, but I do much of the work myself. Joe retired from farming last year but he has been, and is the fencer, mechanic and is also available to help with working cattle.” The couple established their cattle operation in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of

Texas in 1991 with the purchase of 16 open Brahman cross and Red Brangus heifers and has evolved into one of the primary sources of performance tested Simbrah and composite Simbrah genetics. “We concentrate Beth Mercer Joe Mercer on identifying cattle in our own herd and Their calves are weaned at ation. They parin utilizing genetics from the home for 45 days and back- ticipate annually herds of other progressive grounded before sending the in the ASA Steer breeders that combine bal- ones selected to stay as bulls Feedout conanced growth and maternal off for development. The ducted at Graham traits with above average car- steers are shipped to a feed- Feedyards in cass data,” she said. lot and the heifers are kept Gonzales, Texas. The couple also owned at home. The Mercers retain Beth ex- Sunrise at Filegonia Cattle Company and young Simbrah heifers. and operated a utility con- ownership of their steers all plained, “We prostruction business. In 2008, the way through from ranch duce Simmental, Filegonia’s objective ciency. These are characteriswith Joe’s parents needing to rail so they review car- Simbrah, SimAngus™, and has always been to produce tics that they strive for in their help, they closed the busi- cass data and see if anything SimAngusHT™ cattle with top quality Simbrah cattle, cattle. ness and moved to the roll- needs changing in the genet- the commercial cattleman’s both purebred and compos“We produce both red ing blackland hills of Central ics. They also believe in fully needs in mind. We place great ite, that combine the best of and black heat-adapted cattle Texas to be closer to them and testing all their bulls for just importance in those traits that all breeds involved includ- with Simmental influence. focus more on the cattle. about everything. Tissue, make our customers prof- ing Simmental, Brahman, We often have customers who “Leasing or establish- carcass, performance, DNA itable such as calving ease, Red Angus and Angus. They will come thinking they know ing pasture is the problem in and full reporting through the polling, color, disposition, focus on improving fertility, what they want, but after seeCentral Texas where we live ASA’s Total Herd Enrollment fertility, balanced growth and calving ease, growth, early ing the bulls will leave with now with urban sprawl,” Beth program are some of the milk EPDs, as well as above puberty, excellent carcass something completely differ(Continued on page 2B) said. tools they use in their oper- average carcass potential,” potential and high feed effi-

NEWS You Can Use PAGE 2B

SimGenetic steer feedout underway


American Junior Simbrah ersranch.com. Roundup. For additional details, follow them on social National Simbrah media and/or visit their weband Percentage The American Simmental site www.lamunecacattle. Association (ASA) is com. Shows set currently conducting a The National Percentage SimGenetic Steer Feedout, and Open Simbrah Show will Tom Brothers which includes Simbrah once again be held during sired steers at Graham Land Ranch schedules the San Antonio Livestock & Cattle Co., Gonzales, sale Show. This year’s events will Texas. The test began early Tom Brothers Ranch, be Saturday, Feb. 11th. Judge November. For additional Campbellton, Texas will kick for the national level compeinformation contact Luke off their private treaty bull tition will be Mark Ebeling. Bowman with the ASA at sale on Dec. 3rd. The event The San Antonio Show offilbowman@simmgene.com will be held at the ranch and cials have informed the breed or 406/587-4531. the offering will include 30 that numbers must increase black Simmental, SimAngus significantly in the percentLa Muñeca an- and Simbrah bulls. They will age show or it will be disconsell with performance infor- tinued in the future. nounces GIVING mation and interested cowmen are invited to visit their Superbowl once Thanks event La Muñeca Cattle Co., website, www.tombrothagain to be held Linn, Texas, announced ersranch.com for photos, their annual LMC & Friends catalog and details. For adin San Antonio GIVING Thanks Online ditional information, contact The annual SimbrahSale will be Nov. 19-22nd Ellen Tom at 210/313-0020 Simmental Superbowl on CattleinMotion. This sale or ellen@tombrothersranch. will once again be held in benefits a number of schol- com or Philip Tom, 512/296- conjunction with the San arships and causes, including 6845 at philip@tombroth-

SOUTHERN LIVESTOCK STANDARD copies of the brochure for distribution and have the sign at events in your area, contact the ASA at 406/5874531.

For Simbrah news, go online

For additional news, events and updated calendar Antonio Livestock Show listings, Simbrah breeders Junior Breeding Beef Heifer and enthusiasts are encourShows on Feb. 15th. To be aged to visit www.simbraheligible to show, junior heifer exhibitors must have purchased a heifer from a paid sponsor and be entered in the (Continued from page 1B) San Antonio Junior Show. ent,” she explained. Superbowl entry deadline Beth feels that with comis Dec. 10th. Sponsorships posite cattle it is easier to add are now being accepted at desired characteristics. “If a $1,000 if paid before or on desired trait isn’t in your gene Dec. 31, 2022 and $1,250 if pool, then add it” is her phipaid after that date. For comlosophy. plete details and entry form, “I’ve always liked their visit www.simbrah-simmentemperament; it makes a huge talsuperbowl.com. difference in how they feed. We have been very fortunate Simbrah with the last few very gentle Simmental bulls we’ve used promotional on our Simbrah females. I try items available to always be honest with peoThe American Simmental ple. If I have a really nice bull Association (ASA) has they are interested in but who marketing materials for the gets more worked up when Simbrah breed. There is a alone, then I tell them. But brochure, as well as signs if they show any aggression promoting Simbrahs as the they go to town. With calving, crossbreeding choice. For we pay attention to the bulls details on how you can get


world.com. In addition to the news, all issues of the magazine and the annual Simbrah News Commercial Feature are archived on this site. Simbrah World is also very social. Check out our Facebook page for posts on a regular basis. Plus, we have several advertising opportunities for you, contact Martha at hollidacompany@ gmail.com or call 903/3168465. we use, as the cows have to do it all on their own. With our pastures we can’t check them all the time. With the old style Simbrah who were bigger there used to be some calving issue. But with all the feedback from my customers, my calves are moderate sized with no big heads or shoulders,” she added. The two calving seasons allows them the ability to always have a selection of young bulls for sale by private treaty that are fully evaluated and ready to work. Their red and black Simmental influenced bulls are developed at B & B Cattle Company near Normangee, Texas where the bulls are fed a growing ration in large pas(Continued on page 12B)

If you build





By Chip Kemp, director of American Simmental Association/International Genetic Solutions commercial and industry operations

I love an old western. I love a modern western. I love me some Duke, Quigley, Augustus McCrae. But, and here is where you might judge me, outside of the perennial Christmas classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, my favorite movie is Field of Dreams. I know – it is just an Iowa cornfield. But if you are a dad, you get it. And if you were a cocky teenage boy who didn’t prioritize enough time with your father, you get it. One of the currents of that movie is the phrase “If you build it, he will come.” Let’s ruminate on that. “If you build it, he will come.” The movie has a particular twist on the phrase. We’ll go in a different direction. Isn’t that little phrase the underlying motivation for every entrepreneur, every small business owner, every seedstock operator, every rancher? Build something better. Build something novel. Then buyers will beat a path to your door. That is the motivation. That is the dream. That is the romantic notion. In reality, it unfolds more like, 1) If you learn, study, scrutinize what is needed, then 2) build and remodel and rebuild again until you have something that fits the need, and then 3) compare it against the existing approach, then 4) PROVE IT and, then and only then maybe 5) people come. You know this. You live this on your ranch and in your program. You are constantly doing the first two. My contention is that all too often that is where we stop. We do step 1. We passionately live for step 2. On occasion, via a sale barn auction, we get a limited and unclear hint of step 3. Then we just expect

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number 5 to spontaneously happen. People should flock to us. Because. You can see examples of this in many beef magazines. You will see numerous ranch ads stating the terminal prowess of their population of cattle. They will typically highlight provable genetic merit via EPDs and Indexes.

At other times they will highlight terminal success by examples of actual feedlot and carcass performance. They are seeking credibility with the reader by backing up their claim with metrics. They are (step 4) attempting to prove that they are building something better. In the same publication

you will see ads that highlight the maternal might of other programs. Conversely, these pages typically have less data and draw more on the emotion of the viewer. Why? Maybe there isn’t any data to predict maternal merit. Well, that can’t be because any serious breeder of any breed type could have

EPDs for calving ease, maternal calving ease, weaning weight, and stayability (female longevity) by this time next week if they chose. Or they could have a profit focused, balanced whole life cycle index (think API) in the same time frame. So, lack of genetic predictions isn’t it. Maybe it is because maternal

merit isn’t that crucial to the potential customer. That is doubtful, though, considering any beef economist, extension person, experienced rancher, or banker will drive home the point that, despite all the appropriate conversations about terminal importance, it is still the cowherd (Continued on page 5B)




Simbrah/SimGenetic Summit held Nov. 4th

Simbrah and SimGenetic breeders met at Graham Land and Cattle, Gonzales, Texas on Nov. 4th for the fourth Simbrah-SimGenetic Summit. The day focused on the American Simmental Association’s (ASA) Carcass Expansion Project (CXP) and keys to understanding the feedlot business and tour of Graham Feed Yards. The event coincided with the drop-off dates for the 2022-2023 SimbrahSimGenetics Feed out at Graham Feed Yards so attendees could drop their cattle prior to the start of the educational program. Lane Giess, ASA geneticist, welcomed the guests from Texas and Louisiana to the Summit. He introduced Josh Gray, with Graham Land and Cattle. Gray provided an overview of Graham’s operation currently, as well as a walk through history and the evolution of the feeding business for the company. In addition, Gray provided information concerning trends in the feeding business, factors influencing feed costs, current factors associated with

the harvesting of Brahmaninfluenced cattle and a look at what industry experts are predicting in near future for the industry. Attendees were then given a tour of the feed yards, the various pens of cattle, including those holding Simbrah and SimGenetic influenced cattle. The tour included the feed mill and a discussion on rations and how different sources are being incorporated into select feeding rations. Following lunch, which was provided by Graham Land and Cattle, Geiss and Luke Bowman, ASA director of member events and international operations, presented programs to the attendees. Geiss addressed SimGenetic breeders on the opportunities and challenges concerning carcass performance based on data acquired in the CXP tests at Graham. He provided an overview of selection practices to improve carcass performance in a breeding program, discussed phenotype and genotype, and how to utilize

EPDs. He also stressed to breeders why data collection is so important to their programs, as well as the entire ASA data base. Bowman provided information on where the Simbrah breed stands number wise within the association and trends in registrations. He also reviewed data concerning number of AI calves being registered, which is now under 20% of the total. He reviewed the ASA Total Herd Reporting (THE) program and the value it offers breeders including develop and improve female records, building more informative EPDs, genetic improvement, and knowledge about all cattle. He walked breeders through the recently introduced ASA Calf Crop Genomics (CCG) program. This research project launched by the ASA in collaboration with Neogen Genomics, offers a 50% off GGP-LD genomic test including parentage ($25 compared to $50 equivalent test) to participating breeders who test their entire calf crop. Genotyping entire calf crops is important to use genomically-enhanced EPDs selection decisions, reduce selection bias in genomic predictions, and increase the volume of genotyped animals for future improvements to genetic predictions. The latter two points make any singular genomic test in the future better for all members using genomics. In closing, updates concerning Simbrah Advisory Council and the Texas Simmental/Simbrah Association were provided. For more information on the CXP program you can visit www.simmental.org or reach out to Bowman at lbowman@simmgene.com.

Lane Geiss, American Sim- Luke Bowman, American mental Association Simmental Association

Josh Gray, Graham Land and Cattle

Cattle on feed at Graham Feed Yards.

Simbrah Breeder, Monte Christo is a regular participant in the American Simmental Association’s steer feed out at Graham. This pen included a number of steers from the Monte Christo program that had been on feed about three weeks.

SIMBRAH By combining two legendary maternal breeds – Simmental and Brahman – and capturing retained maternal heterosis, American Simbrah offers a rare balance of superior fertility, maternal weaning weight, and lifetime productivity with unequaled environmental adaptability. Using Simbrah will add performance, significantly improve yield grade and ribeye size, and maintain the maternal value and replacement flexibility. For more information on Simbrah genetics, the following sources can be accessed www.simmental.org www.simbrahworld.com Follow Simbrah World on Facebook for the latest news.




Five things to do to improve the efficiency of winter feeding this year By Dr. Katie VanValin, University of Kentucky assistant professor beef nutrition

Undoubtedly, 2022 has had its fair share of challenges thus far. High input prices likely led to fewer hay acres being fertilized, which with the added pressure of drought, can lead to lower quality and quantity of stored forages moving into this winter. You might be in for sticker shock if you haven’t purchased feed recently. It can be easy to get caught up in things we have little to no control over, so here are five things we can do to improve this year’s winter-feeding program. 1. Body condition score the herd: Calves should be weaned from the spring calving cows (or will be very soon). It’s easy to get caught up focusing on the weaning weight of the calves or managing a pre-conditioning program but don’t forget about the cows. Now is the time to assess the body condition score of the herd. Spring

calving cows will have their lowest nutrient requirements of the entire year shortly after weaning the calf. Now is the time to efficiently add condition to thin cows to set them up for success during the 2023 breeding season. Sorting cows by body condition score can allow for more efficient herd management and for those thin cows to receive the extra nutrition they require without overfeeding them in adequate condition. It is much more challenging to add condition to cows as they approach calving or have a calf at side. The ideal body condition score for mature cows is 5, while targeting younger females to a BCS 6 can ensure they have the extra condition required to meet their additional nutrient requirements for supporting growth. 2. Test your hay: This is something we always recommend, but in years like 2022,

this becomes even more important. Hay tests provide valuable information about the energy and protein concentrations in the sample. All lots of hay should be tested, and a lot is defined as hay harvested from the same field on the same day and stored under the same conditions. Testing all lots of hay allows producers to match lots of hay to the herd so that the lowest quality hay is being fed when the cows’ nutrient requirements are the lowest while saving the best quality hay for when nutrient requirements are their highest. Feeding the right hay to the right cow at the right time can drastically decrease the amount of supplement required to maintain body condition. 3. Evaluate supplement costs: At some point throughout the year, some supplementation is likely required to meet the energy and pro-

tein requirements of the herd. Using hay test results can help determine the most efficient supplement to match the energy and protein deficits in the hay. Reach out to your local county extension agent or nutritionist to assist in interpreting hay test results. Now is the time to sharpen the pencil and determine which supplement options will be the most economical

to pair with available forage. Remember, the feed that was the most economical last year may not be the most economical choice this year. Just because one feed costs more on a $/Ton basis does not mean it is the most expensive supplement to feed. The amount of a particular supplement required must also be considered. 4. Feed hay efficiently:

Regardless of quality, when the quantity of hay is tight, available hay stores must be fed efficiently. Research has shown that feeding hay in a hay ring prevents feeding waste, especially rings that contain a solid skirted bottom. Hay feeding pads and fence line feeders can also reduce hay feeding losses. While these measures will

If you build it...

highlighting the female firepower they put into their heifers. They give real world examples from their customers. They offer unbiased genetic predictions of Stayability and API. They put “meat on the bone”. When a commercial producer studies those two marketing approaches which is more likely to drive him to make a move? The Duke only swung when compelled. Quigley didn’t fire often, but when he did… And Gus was clear

about his expectations – for good or for ill. We can build it. But, if we expect people to come, we must prove it. We must take initiative and we must take action. Today’s savvy commercial customer often understands data better than many seedstock operators. They know data, they want data, and they expect serious data proof that you’ve developed a product they should buy. Either you deliver or they buy elsewhere. ~ SLS

(Continued from page 3B)

that determines if you stay in business or not. Or maybe it is just that the ranch behind the ad has no meaningful metrics by which to prove they’ve built a better product. Hence, no way to compel a reasoned, thoughtful, business minded decision to buy their product. So instead, they appeal to emotion. On the other hand, there are many breeders who are

(Continued on page 10B)




ASA signs on with the Genetic Merit Pricing Task Force Source: American Simmental Association

BOZEMAN, MT — The American Simmental Association (ASA) has joined forces with numerous industry partners to fund a Genetic Merit Pricing Task Force (GMP), focused on identifying and implementing methods and practices to increase the recognition and use of objectively determined genetic merit in the pricing of U.S. feeder cattle. The GMP has the capacity to strengthen the position of serious producers who intentionally build profit-oriented genetics for the cowcalf operator, cattle feeders, and packers alike. At the same time, this approach offers greater awareness of the current beef population and gives all parties the opportunity to make future-minded decisions with forethought,


facts and tangible understanding of actual profit potential. The ASA Board of Trustees passed a resolution to become a full funding partner in the GMP, contributing $40,000. The American Simmental-Simbrah Foundation will contribute half of these funds. Since its inception, the ASA has supported many efforts focused on elevating the value of genetic merit in U.S. beef cattle. Tools such as the IGS Feeder Profit Calculator ™ make clear ASA’s commitment to serving the industry at large. ASA has full respect for the presently existing approaches that are proving successful and recognizes that many systems already encourage and reward genetic merit. The ASA’s inter-

est and involvement focuses solely on multi-breed objective measures of terminal traits and their potential implementation, where appropriate, across the beef business. Also in line with ASA’s mission, scientific assessment will be at the forefront of these efforts. Founded in 1968, the American Simmental Association is headquartered in Bozeman, Montana. ASA is committed to leveraging technology, education, and collaboration to accelerate genetic profitability for the beef industry. In keeping with its commitment, ASA, along with its partners, formed International Genetic Solutions — the world’s largest genetic evaluation of beef cattle. Learn more at www. simmental.org.



• Nov. 19-22 - 9th Annual LMC & Friends Giving THANKS Sale • Dec. 2-4 - TSSA Southern Showcase, Brenham, Texas-CANCELLED • Dec. 3 - Tom Brothers Opening Day of Private Treaty Bull Sale, Campbellton, Texas


• Jan. 23 - Fort Worth Livestock Show Junior Simbrah Show, Fort Worth, Texas • Jan. 29 - Open SimGenetic Shows, Fort Worth, Texas • Feb. 4 – Fort Worth Livestock Show, Commercial Female Sale, Fort Worth, Texas • Feb. 11 - National Simbrah and Percentage Simbrah Shows, San Antonio Livestock Show, San Antonio, Texas • Feb. 11 - TSSA Annual Membership Meeting, San Antonio, Texas • Feb. 14 - Junior Simbrah Heifer Show, San Antonio Livestock Show, San Antonio, Texas • Feb. 15 - Simbrah-Simmental Superbowl, San Antonio Livestock Show, San Antonio, Texas • Feb. 15 – San Antonio Livestock Stock Show All Breeds Bull and Commercial Heifer Sale, San Antonio Livestock Show, San Antonio, Texas • Feb. 28 - Texas Simmental/Simbrah Association International Sale, Houston Livestock Show, Houston, Texas • Mar 1 – International Simbrah Show, Houston Livestock Show, Houston, Texas • Mar 1 – Houston 56th Annual All Breeds Bull and Commercial Female Sale, Houston Livestock Show, Houston, Texas • Mar 7-Houston Livestock Show Junior Breeding Simbrah Show, Houston Livestock Show, Houston, Texas



All hay of the same species is NOT created equal.


Do your herd and your bank account a favor - test your hay! By Mary Drewnosky, Extension educator

Every year I get calls for help with balancing rations and most don’t have a hay analysis. All hay of the same species is NOT created equal. For instance, smooth bromegrass hay can range from 48 to 58% total digestible nutrients (TDN) with crude protein (CP) ranging from 6 to 11% CP. This can be the difference between a growing heifer losing 0.25 lb/d or gaining 0.37 lb/d. If you were targeting the heifer gaining 1 lb/d you would need to supplement between 1.5 and 3 lb/d of dried distillers to reach this goal. At $300/ton for dried distillers, this would be a difference in cost of $20 vs. $40 per heifer for a 90-day period. Now multiply that by the number of heifers you have and the costs can add up quickly. If you don’t know the quality of your hay, how do you pick? Do you choose the lower rate and potentially have heifers that are not ready to

breed? Or pick the higher rate and potentially spend money you don’t need to. The easy answer is neither. If you know the quality of your hay, you can make the right decision in terms of supplementation level and not spend more money than you need to. Likewise, not all alfalfa is the same. Alfalfa can range from 11 to 18% CP and 45 to 60% TDN. If you are using alfalfa as the main hay source prior to turn out on grass for mature cows post calving, the higher quality alfalfa will result in cows maintaining body condition, but the poorer quality alfalfa will have them losing 2/3 of a body condition score a month. While one can take the “feed it and see approach”, plane of nutrition post calving can have huge impacts on breeding success. Thus, this gamble can have large financial impacts. Also, last year’s hay tells you nothing about this year’s

hay. The growing conditions and timing of harvest are unlikely to be replicated. I hope I have convinced you that spending the time and money to test hay is well worth the investment. Now it is time for me to tell you how to get a sample that will be useful. The biggest source of error when it comes to hay analysis is the sample that was obtained. A grab sample from a bale is not very useful as it represents about 1 square foot in the field. It is important to use a hay probe to get a sample. You can find videos on the internet on the proper way to get a sample. Don’t have a hay probe? That is okay. You can borrow one from most Extension offices. Want to save yourself from making a special trip to town each year to borrow one? Then buy your own. You can get one for a couple hundred dollars. This cost is easy to make back in supplement saved or animal performance gained.



Simbrah – the best of both breeds Source: American Simmental Association In the late 1960s, shortly after the introduction of Simmental in North America, a few cattlemen began to act upon an idea of a breed that could thrive in the sub-tropical climate of the Gulf Coast region of the United States. They not only wanted this breed to thrive in the South but also to meet the demands of the industry. The result, a viable beef breed created by combining the two most populous breeds in the world, Brahman and Simmental to create Simbrah. Using two breeds that are distinctly different utilizes the strengths of both and maximizes the hybrid vigor because of the extreme genetic differences. Combining the strengths of the Brahman breed, including longevity, heat tolerance, insect and disease resistance, durability, grazing ability and calving ease with the superior Simmental traits of fertility, milking ability, rapid growth and early sexual maturity led to Simbrah. Aside from the experimentation with Bos Indicus and Bos Taurus in the late

1960s the first Simbrah animal wasn’t registered until 1977. The American Simmental Association (ASA), with its open registry recognized that it would be beneficial to take Simbrah under their wing instead of forcing them out on their own. In 1977, the Simbrah registration was approved by the membership, with breeders registering 700 animals in their first year of existence as an organization. The next year an additional 1,100 were registered and in the first five years over 3,000 head were being registered and recorded annually. Two categories of

Simbrah are admitted to the herdbook, purebred and percentage. Purebreds contain 5/8 Simmental and 3/8 Brahman while percentage animals must carry a minimum of 1/8 Simmental and 1/8 Brahman, but not more than 3/8 other breeds. Another variable that has been added to the purebred formula is the “floating 1/16th other breed” which allows producers to add 1/16 of any other breed to tailor the Simbrah to fit their program and geographical region. Cattlemen first referred to these Simmental X Brahman cattle as “Brahmental” and used it on registration certificates, but as pressure mounted in 1977 from an early breeder who claimed the rights to the name, the ASA changed the name to Simbrah. It is a breed that is now recognized worldwide. Known as Simbrah in most countries, but also referred to as “Simbra” in South Africa and “Simbrasil” in Brazil. In 1985, the Trustees established an ad hoc Simbrah Committee with objectives to review the policies, rules, regulations, activities, promotional methods, and materials pertaining to Simbrah and make recommendations

to the Trustees. In 1989, the board established a permanent Simbrah Committee as part of the ASA Committee structure, replacing the ad hoc committee. This committee encouraged the staff to develop a new Simbrah logo, registration certificates, cow cards and herd handler forms.

SOUTHERN LIVESTOCK STANDARD New ads were also created to promote the Simbrah breed and its advantages to commercial cattlemen, targeting current and prospective markets in Mexico and South America. Under the umbrella of the ASA, Simbrah presently have been subjected to the same

rigid performance standards as the Simmental and is included in ASA’s innovative carcass merit program. Simbrah combine the genetics of the world’s two most populous breeds, strengths upon which the breed can rely as it fills its niche in the beef industry.




Carcass awareness is crucial for Simbrah genetic improvement By Lane Giess, American Simmental Association geneticist The adage “You can’t know where you are going without first knowing where you came from” is a powerful statement that reflects the current desire of numerous Simbrah breeders to use facts and benchmarking information to help guide the direction of the Simbrah breed. The Graham Southern SimGenetic Feedout began in 2019 and has helped a small group of breeders capture much-needed terminal information. Since the program began, approximately 150 Simbrah and southern SimGenetic animals have been enrolled in the feedout, where each animal was genotyped and harvested and all carcass data were reported to the American Simmental Association (ASA) to be included in the International Genetic Solutions (IGS) multi-breed genetic evaluation. The program serves ASA members by providing an outlet to retain ownership on cull calves that would have otherwise been sold at weaning or removed from the herd in another way that would have resulted in lost information. Capturing actual carcass data is integral to supporting the strength of prediction of carcass Expected Progeny Differences (EPD) in a genetic evaluation. Simply put, without actual carcass data on progeny, carcass EPD for potential sires will have lower accuracies. Lower-accuracy genetic predictions result in reduced and slower genetic progress. 2021–2022 Southern SimGenetic Feedout results In 2022, three breeders enrolled 27 animals in the feedout located at Graham Land and Cattle in Gonzales, Texas. Texas A&M AgriLife Extension specialist Dr. Joe Paschal collected all of the terminal information on the finished calves and reported the results back to the owners and the ASA. Below is a summary of the average, minimum, and maximum reported phenotypes for this group.

While these phenotypes do provide some benchmarking value, the true utility is using these phenotypes to improve the genetic evaluation of Simbrah and southern SimGenetic cattle — a population that has historically underreported terminal data Very few actual carcass records were reported on Simbrah cattle from 2000 to 2017. This is largely due to the development and widespread use of carcass ultrasounding to replace actual terminal data collection. And while carcass ultrasounding is a better replacement for no carcass data, collecting actual carcass data has shown to provide even greater returns for genetic predictions. Let’s put some context around these reported carcass data. There are a total of 187,651 animals in the Simbrah database, with 1,221 actual carcass records and 3,241 carcass ultrasounds reported. This means if the carcass EPD genetic predictions relied solely on phenotypes, all 187,651 Simbrah animals’ carcass genetic predictions would be based on 1,221 actual carcass phenotypes and 3,241 ultrasound records. Fortunately, we can use genomics, correlated traits, and breed adjustments to give us more reliable starting points and better predictions. But this highlights the need for member involvement in contributing to their genetic predictions, because carcass data taken over the course of many years and spread across numerous herds will ultimately result in more powerful — and accurate — EPD for Simbrah cattle. Industry context How do Simbrah stack up relative to Simmental and other breeds of cattle, both regionally and nationally? This is an important question for Simbrah members, as it impacts the commercial relevance of the cattle and can greatly influence marketability. If we simply look at the phenotypes reported to ASA

Table 1: Summary of 2021-2022 Southern SimGenetic Feedout Carcass Data Trait Avg. Live Weight Avg. Carc Weight Avg. Dressing % Avg. Fat Thickness Avg. Ribeye Area Avg. Marbling Score Avg. Yield Grade

Average 1,554 lbs 940 lbs 62.9% 0.41 in 16.4 sq in 434 (USDA Sm 34) USDA 2.4

Min 1.071 lbs 658 lbs 62.3% 0.15 in 12.3 sq in 300 (SI 00) USDA 1.3

Max 1,882 lbs 1,137 lbs 64.0% 0.90 in 18.5 sq in 680 (Md 80) USDA 4.2

from both Simbrah and all other ASA animals, we can get a somewhat realistic picture of Simbrah carcass performance. Table 2 shows a ten-year average value for relevant carcass phenotypes for both Simbrah animals and all other ASA animals. Table 2: Ten-year average carcass phenotypes for Simbrah and ASA animals Trait Simbrah Age at Slaughter ASA Age at Slaughter Simbrah Carcass Weight ASA Carcass Weight Simbrah Ribeye Area ASA Ribeye Area Simbrah Marbling ASA Marbling Simbrah Fat Thickness ASA Fat Thickness

Ten-yr Avg. Value 525 days 464 days 787.1 lbs 801.7 lbs 13.8 sq/in 14.0 sq/in 367 IMF 419 IMF 0.28 in 0.47 in

This shows that Simbrah cattle take on average 60 days (two months) longer to reach finishing weight. Simbrah finished with 14 fewer pounds of carcass product and with slightly smaller ribeyes. Simbrah are on average half a USDA quality grade below all other ASA cattle, but finish with 0.2 fewer inches of backfat. This table may be misleading however, as this does not take into consideration the regionality of the cattle where they were managed and harvested. Since this compares Simbrah to the rest of the ASA population, where some may have had more beneficial management and environments, comparing Simbrah to animals within their own region is preferred. Marbling, in particular, is shown to be greatly influenced by the region where cattle were harvested. If we focus on cattle solely managed and harvested in the state of Texas, the ten-year average for USDA quality grade is 34% Select, 59.6% Choice, and 2.4% Prime (USDA AMS Meat Grading Dashboard). If we subset the historical Graham data, those Simbrah calves are averaging 50% Select, 48.7% Choice, and 1% Prime. This alone tells us that Simbrah are behind in quality grading compared to other cattle in the region. Even compared to animals in their own region, Simbrah are behind the average marbling ability. If we look at the last 30 years of genetic improvement for the Simbrah population in relation to marbling, perhaps this

Difference 60.5 days 14.6 lbs 0.2 sq/in 52.8 IMF 0.19 in

provides a reason as to why Simbrah are falling behind others in their area. Simbrah breeders have not been selecting for improved genetic merit respective to marbling and while slight increases are seen from Simbrah phenotypes,

when we account for all of the management and environmental influences, very little genetic improvement is seen. This suggests environmental and management decisions are helping breeders attain slightly higher quality grades in the cattle they harvest, but when it comes to advancing the genetics of their population, there is much to be desired. The data is clear, and the facts are that Simbrah are behind in some terminal commercial metrics. So how can Simbrah breeders improve the carcass relevance of their cattle? This is both a challenging and needed outcome for Simbrah breeders. It will

require disciplined and serious use of EPD, and continuing to collect high-quality terminal data. It’s best to genotype all young prospective sires to ensure you are using the best and most accurate genetic predictions. Regardless of the trait, the proper use of genetic tools and effective breeding strategies are proven to help breeders capture genetic improvement. This article serves as a starting point for breeders who wish to improve the genetic merit of their cow herd for carcass traits if that is the desired outcome. For additional information please contact the association at 406/587-4531.




Fall is a key culling decision time for cow-calf operations

By Dr. Kenny Burdine, University of Kentucky Extension professor, livestock marketing Being an extension economist in a feeder cattle state, I don’t know how many times I have said, “This calf market needs some green grass!” Nothing fuels calf prices like spring pasture and the opposite typically occurs in the fall. As pasture growth comes to a close, the full impact of feed prices are felt and calf

prices almost always pull back. With spring feeder cattle futures in the $190’s back in late summer, I was optimistic that calf prices might hold serve as we moved into fall. But, those spring futures prices have declined by about $15 per cwt and the calf market has dropped by a bit more than that. This can be easily

seen in the price chart below. Seasonal lows in calf markets typically occur in October or November, so we are likely approaching that point as I write this. In additional to approaching the time when most spring born calves are sold, we are also approaching the time culling decisions for their in much of the country has al- ing this year. A quick look at when most producers make cow-calf operations. Drought ready forced significant cull- the drought monitor below shows continued drought in the West and Southern Plains. But, over the last several weeks conditions have worsened in the Northern Plains and the Southeast. This has impacted fall pasture growth and hay supply and will also be on the minds of producers as they decide how many cows to carry into 2023. I don’t know when I first heard someone reference culling the three O’s, but I mention it a lot in extension presentations. This refers to producers considering culling cows that are open, old and ornery. As a general rule, I can’t argue with considering these three categories of cows as culling candidates. But, I also like to mention two other categories of cows to consider when one is looking at (Continued on page 12B)

Five things...

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not completely reduce hay feeding losses, these losses can be reduced from 45% to as little as 6% by using hay rings. Moving hay rings or utilizing bale grazing can help to limit trampling damage around these hay feeding sites and help to distribute manure evenly across the feeding area. 5. Stockpiling forages: Although nitrogen application can increase the amount of stockpiled forage available to graze during the winter, tall fescue can still stockpile even without a nitrogen application. Closing off certain fields during the fall growing season can allow the forages in these fields to stockpile, which can then be grazed during the late fall and early winter. While the nutrient quality of stockpiled fescue declines over time, nutrient content can remain adequate for supporting dry cows. Consider setting up a simple strip grazing system using temporary electric fencing to prevent trampling losses when turning cattle out on stockpiled forages.




American Simbrah - The World’s Breed Please Contact These Progressive Breeders Maiorano

SIMMENTALS AND SIMBRAHS BOB & TAMMY MAIORANO 678 Moss Rose Lane, Driftwood, Texas 78619

TIM SMITH, CONSULTANT 512/587-7896 • smithgenetics1@gmail.com

David and Thuy Grimes KALEB FONTENOT AND KATARINA AXTELL Henderson, Texas 832/594-7530 | Dgrimes012@gmail.com www.tmplivestock.com

Kaleb Fontenot

6869 S. FM 1486 RD MONTGOMERY, TX 77316 832/651-4819 SMITH ADVENTURER 814F: His service at work in my herd.

For updates to Simbrah News visit: www.simbrahworld.com




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Joe and Beth Mercer, owners of Filegonia began raising Simbrah cattle in 1991.

Fall is key...

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potential cows to cull. First, I encourage producers to look at their late calving cows. Producers that capture weaning weights will likely notice these cows as they will tend to wean smaller calves, simply due to the calves being younger at weaning time. But, the lost value is really even more significant as there usually will be fewer of these late born, lighter calves. This means that when the calves from these cows are sold, they will be sold in smaller groups and take an additional discount for that reason. The number of calves that are sold in one group (often referred to as lot size) has a huge impact on price. The combination of weaning a smaller calf and having that calf sell in a smaller group can greatly impact the revenue associated with a late calving cow. Secondly, I like for producers to consider the size of the cow when they look at their weaning weights. Again, records are key to being able to do this, but the concept is what is most important. Most costs are going to be higher for larger cows, which means they have to wean larger calves to offset those additional costs. Sometimes comparing cows based on the weaning weight of their calves, as a percent of their body weight, can provide a bit more perspective on which cows may be candidates for culling.

For updates to Simbrah News visit www.SIMBRAH WORLD.com

tures where they get plenty of exercise. They are evaluated for average daily gain, docility, marbling, ribeye area, as well as breeding soundness. “We have been happy with our results so I can’t complain, but we can always do better. Simbrahs have the advantage that they don’t need a lot of back fat to marble really well,” she stated. The Mercers offer around 30 bulls a year along with bred and open heifers. With their smaller numbers they don’t feel they are ready to have their own bull sale at this


We have been happy with our results so I can’t complain, but we can always do better.

time, but are considering the possibility of an online sale in the future. “We advertise on our website, www.filegoniacattle. com, through word of mouth and some print advertising. Folks see one of our bulls and ask about it. A commercial Red Angus producer in

Oregon has purchased several of our bulls and are buying more. They are amazed at the growth of the Simbrah cross calves and are keeping heifers back. The Simbrahs do very well in colder climates as well as in hot and humid areas,” she explained. The Mercers don’t plan

on changing anything too dramatically in their program other than improving their marketing. “I just haven’t had the time but I’m going to try to have a better marketing strategy going forward.” With Beth in her seventies, she makes sure her facilities and cattle are safe and efficient. “Our pastures are configured so all I have to do is open a gate. No horses, just a feed sack, I have to be able to make it work by myself and my cows are all easy going. Simbrahs and related composites have worked for us for more than 30 years,” she concluded. ~SLS

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